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Questions – Week 1

September 17, 2023

Series: Questions

EVERY PERSON IS DESPERATE FOR HOPE

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,

vanity of vanities! All is vanity. Ecclesiastes 1:1-2 ESV

SOLOMON’S FIRST LESSON IS THAT LIFE IS SHORT AND IF ALL YOU DO IS EXISTS THEN IT IS EMPTY

For you are like vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes. James 4:14 CSB

‘You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust. Genesis 3:19 CSB

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. Job 1:21 CSB

What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? Ecclesiastes 1:3ESV

A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. Ecclesiastes 1:4-5 ESV

SOLOMON’S SECOND LESSON IS THAT LIFE IS TOUGH

All things are wearisome, more than anyone can say. The eye is not satisfied by seeing or the ear filled with hearing. Ecclesiastes 1:8 CSB

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. John 12:24 NLT

IF YOU TRY TO AVOID THE TENSION OF LIFE, YOU WILL NEVER DEVELOP THE MUSCLES OF RESILIENCY

ISOLOMON’S THIRD LESSON IS THAT WE ARE SEARCHING FOR TRUE MEANING

Can one say about anything, “Look, this is new”? It has already existed in the ages before us. There is no remembrance of those who came before; and of those who will come after there will also be no remembrance by those who follow them. Ecclesiastes 1:10-11 CSB

THE FIRST STAGE IS THE PURSUIT OF INTELLECT

I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. Ecclesiastes 1:12-14 ESV

What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted. Ecclesiastes 1:15 NLT

‘“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 NIV

‘Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT

THE SECOND STAGE IS THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE

I said to myself, “Come on, let’s try pleasure. Let’s look for the ‘good things’ in life.” But I found that this, too, was meaningless. So I said, “Laughter is silly. What good does it do to seek pleasure?” After much thought, I decided to cheer myself with wine. And while still seeking wisdom, I clutched at foolishness. In this way, I tried to experience the only happiness most people find during their brief life in this world. Ecclesiastes 2:1-3 NLT

GRATITUDE PRODUCES ENDURANCE

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:3-5 NLT

GRATEFUL PEOPLE OWN THEIR PERSPECTIVE AND LET GOD OWN THEIR CIRCUMSTANCES.

And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear. Philippians 1:12-14 NLT

THE THIRD STAGE IS THE PURSUIT OF MATERIALISM

‘I also tried to find meaning by building huge homes for myself and by planting beautiful vineyards. I made gardens and parks, filling them with all kinds of fruit trees. I built reservoirs to collect the water to irrigate my many flourishing groves. I bought slaves, both men and women, and others were born into my household. I also owned large herds and flocks, more than any of the kings who had lived in Jerusalem before me. I collected great sums of silver and gold, the treasure of many kings and provinces. I hired wonderful singers, both men and women, and had many beautiful concubines. I had everything a man could desire! So I became greater than all who had lived in Jerusalem before me, and my wisdom never failed me. Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere. Ecclesiastes 2:4-11 NLT

“The only value of money is that you don’t worry about being poor.”  Johnny Carson

“I was much happier as a mechanic, working in a shop.” Henry Ford

So I came to hate life because everything done here under the sun is so troubling. Everything is meaningless—like chasing the wind. Ecclesiastes 2:17 NLT

A LIFE BUILT ON SELF HEADS TOWARD DEPRESSION AND DESPAIR

So what do people get in this life for all their hard work and anxiety? Their days of labor are filled with pain and grief; even at night their minds cannot rest. It is all meaningless. Ecclesiastes 2:22-23 NLT

So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. Ecclesiastes 2:24 NLT

‘For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from him? God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please him. Ecclesiastes 2:25-26 NLT